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Normalcy returns to JKIA after strike fizzles off -CS Macharia

Transport Cabinet Secretary has assured those travelling through Jomo Kenyatta international Airport that operations were back to normal and flights from various airlines were taking off as scheduled.

The CS noted that Kenya Aviation Authority (KAA) in collaboration with Kenya Airways and with the support of Kenya Air force managed to get replacement of the screeners.

“We have managed to fix that problem in the last one hour. We got replacement screeners from Kenya Airways. We got support from the Kenya Air Force in terms of screeners as well and so we are just waiting for the first flight to depart to London and thereafter things are expected to get back to normal,” said the CS when he addressed the media at the airport in the morning.

Macharia, who termed the strike by Kenya Airports Workers Union (KAWU) illegal because there was a court injunction, further said that disciplinary action would be taken against the striking workers whose illegal behaviour caused disruption at the airport.

“An airport is like the military barrack, a security installation. You cannot just walk in and disrupt security installations at the airport. That is tantamount to economic sabotage and to that effect, you must explain what made you do so,” CS Macharia said.

The strike by the Kenya Aviation Workers Union (KAWU) caused a major crisis at the JKIA where hundreds of passengers have been stranded since midnight yesterday.

Flight operations were affected after fire engines were incapacitated leading to notices from airlines including Kenya Airways which advised passengers flying out from 11:00 hours not to go to the airport.

National flag carrier Kenya Airways had earlier warned that the strike by KAWU members would cause disruptions on flights and advised those due for travel after 11:00 Hours  not to go to the airport until further communication was given.

Before he was arrested and locked up at the airport police cells, KAWU Secretary General Moss Ndiema blamed the management for their grievances saying that they could no longer accept meagre salaries while few people at the airport squandered million further saying that the planned merger between Kenya Airports Authority and Kenya Airways was not welcome.

The strike also affected flights to and from Mombasa and Kisumu with Ndiema stating that they were protesting against the huge wage gaps at the airport.

About 5, 000 General Service Unit officers as well as the National Youth Service have been deployed to the airport to bring normalcy, with the striking workers sent out of the airport.

 

By Alice Gworo

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